MONDAY’S LETTERS: Don’t Knock Ashcroft’s Barbed-Wire Talent, Iraq Not the ‘Cakewalk’ Bushies Said it Would Be

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, two readers respond to an E&P story on former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s wire-sculpting hobby, and another reader praises Greg Mitchell’s recent columns on the disputed number of Iraqis killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

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Make Barbed Wire Sculptures, Not Barbs,

Your article finds it well-nigh incredible that John Ashcroft works in barbed-wire sculpture.

When I lived in Washington during his tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Ashcroft was my next-door neighbor.

Here in the Shenandoah Valley, John Sullivan, my next-door neighbor, is a union pipefitter and welder — and a barbed-wire sculptor. In fact, last month I gave him a roll of 100 feet of wire for some new stuff he’s working on (we live on a farm).

I worked as a welder (among other things) in college, and I’m here to tell you, it ain’t easy. Barbed wire sculpture requires welding skills as well as artistic talent and skill in the working of the hands in contact with raw materials, which is why journalists might not be aware of it, revelling in endless abstractions as they all too often do.

By the way, Mr. Ashcroft is also an accomplished pianist. I could often hear him through the wall.

Dr. Christopher Manion
Vice President and Director
National Capital Office
Morality In Media
Front Royal, Va.



Uh, this “story” is headline media news? The Sunday Times’ Q & A usually reveals more about Deborah Solomon’s utterly conformist and predictable political/cultural views — most recently, her reinterpretation of Bill Clinton’s televised hissy-fit into something sincere and passionate, in her interview with the bemused Chris Wallace — than about insights into her subjects. And E&P’s snarky asides confirm once again that E&P is not to be taken without a grain of salt when it comes to hot-button subjects for urban liberals, like Republican Attorneys-General. Hard to imagine E&P treating Waco-famed Janet Reno thusly.

Mark Richard
Columbus, Ohio

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Death Numbers in Iraq, and the Administration’s ‘Cakewalk’

Thank you [Greg Mitchell] for writing about the massive number of deaths in Iraq, with no end in sight.

Please also debunk the latest infuriating talking point about how they never said it would be easy … they are now claiming that they “always” said this war would be long and hard. As if we don’t remember: “Cakewalk”; “Mission Accomplished”; “Bring it on”; “Last throes.”

Slap them in the face with that, too. Then keep on them about the death toll.

Robyn Miller
Quincy, Mass.

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